Monday, October 27, 2008

Hockey! Cardboard! Tiny Pieces of Sweaters! 2008-09 Fleer Ultra Madness!

As I headed up to the local shop I was hoping for a few packs of O-Pee-Chee. I really like the design of this year’s set and the non-glossy front makes for a good signing surface for autographs.

Unfortunately, they didn’t have any - they did, however, have a couple of boxes of 2008-09 Fleer Ultra. I really enjoyed last year’s set as it had all the basic requirements: low price, good photography and the occasional insert. Since the box was only about $70.00 I figured I would give it a whirl.

This is the first box I’ve bought since I decided on a new hockey collecting strategy. From now on I’m going to focus on just Lightning cards and goalie cards. So we’ll see how this box stacks up to those new guidelines.

Below is one pack from the hobby box I broke today. Left without a scanner I had to pull the images off of Upper Deck’s site.

Top Card:

Evgeni Malkin #77.

Geno looks like he’s getting ready to throw a check into the boards.

Tim Thomas #9. Goalie Card!

Chris Higgins #37. Looks like Chris is celebrating one of the 27 goals he scored last season.

Henrick Zetterberg Scoring Kings Insert #SK7. One of the minor insert sets that make Ultra either fun or maddening to collect.

Ryan Whitney Gold Medallion #79. Inserted one per pack this parrellel series makes it’s return from last year.

Henrick Zetterberg eX #24.

To celebrate the Lightning’s first win earlier this week I decided to treat myself to some hockey cards.

A new insert for this year. Fleer/Upper Deck bring back the eX format from the late 90’s. Seeded at a rate of 1:8 it’s a sharp looking insert. The player photo is actually raised off the service of the card. The service is clear acetate (doesn’t show up on the image).

Mike Cammalleri #116. No airbrushed uniforms here. The new Flames center is shown in his LA uniform. The team logo on the back is for his new team.

Alexander Radulov #170 The back of his card states that he has “shown improvement in each of his first two NHL seasons”. Good for him! Right now he’s probably better known as being in the center of a dispute between the Russian professional league and the NHL. It seems that this summer he signed a deal with Salavat Yulaev in the Russian Continental League. Unfortunately, he still had one year left on his Nashville contract.

Brad Richards #137 The former Lightning center and all around good guy is shown in his Dallas uniform.

Not a bad pack, it pretty much represents most of the other packs that I ripped from the box. Forty-three inserts out of the box, a rate of more than one per pack. It would be impossible to put together sets of all of the inserts breaking just packs, but I suppose that’s not the purpose of inserts.

As usual the Ultra brand has top notch photography and it’s fair share of horizontal cards which always look good. The price point for packs is set at $2.99 which is a little steep despite Fleer’s claim that this is an “affordable” brand. It makes me wonder what the pack price is going to be for their Upper Deck regular series.

Overall I give it a 3.0 out of 5.0.

All non-goalie and non-Lightning cards are available for trade. Just shoot me an email!

Box Score:

1 Rookie Redemption #15

19 Goalie Cards

6 Lightning Cards (Ryan Malone Mike Smith Jussi Jokinen Paul Ranger Karri Ramo Olaf Kolzig)

3 Difference Makers (Alexander Ovechkin Teemu Selanne Pavel Datsyuk)

2 Ice Medallion (Brian Boyle 90/100 Matt D’Agostini 36/100)

26 Gold Medallian

4 Scoring Kings (Sidney Crosby Henrik Zetterberg Ilya Kovalchuk Eric Staal)

3 eX (Thomas Vokoun Sam Gagner Henrik Zetterberg)

2 Season Crowns (Henrik Lundqvist Dan Ellis)

2 Franchise Players (Joe Sakic Sidney Crosby)

2 Ultra Uniformity (Rick Nash Roberto Luongo)

119 base cards

6 Ultra Rookies (Theo Peckham Ilya Zubov David Brine Derick Brassard Boris Valabik Marc-Andre Gragnani)

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